Featured on Inc.’s website, staff writer Graham Winfrey discusses what to keep in mind to ensure the best name possible for your new business in the article “How to Name Your Business: 10 Things You Need to Know.”
“Picking a killer name for your business is harder than it might seem,” writes Winfrey in the article. “One of the things to think about when choosing a company name is how it will look in the subject line of an email, according to cloud-based analytics company DataHero. Then there’s how it will sound when it’s said aloud. A number of leading companies in recent history have chosen names with between five and 10 letters and at least one hard consonant: Google, Starbucks, Verizon.”
In the article, entrepreneurs share 10 helpful tips a new business owner should consider before choosing the right name for his or her emerging venture.
- Don’t rush. Make sure you do not hurry through the process of picking a name. Don’t settle. It could take six months of iterating before making a final decision. Charlie Miner, founder of WorkOf, a furniture and lighting e-commerce company, notes in the article that it’s important to remember to keep working on other aspects of your business as you get closer to picking a name. “You don’t want the process of naming to prevent you from moving the business forward,” he continues in the article.
- Consider your audience. You have to consider who will be responding to your business’ name. For example, Winfrey explains in the article that CB Insights, a venture capital database, was initially founded under the name Chubby Brain in an attempt to come up with a cool, funky name. Anand Sanwal, co-founder of the company, reports in the article that he changed his tune after hearing bad feedback from investment banks and other institutional clients. “Nobody wanted to put ‘Source: Chubby Brain’ at the bottom of a deck, because it’s not a real big credibility builder,” adds Sanwal in the article.
- Make it easy to spell. You can still have a unique name, such as Chick-fil-A, without being so unconventional that it becomes hard to remember. You don’t want consumers questioning how it was spelled.
- Keep it short. Although it will be hard for every business to have a simple, short name, such as Dell or Lyft, try to keep your name as short as possible. However, asserts Winfrey in the article, acquiring “the rights to short Web domain names, however, can be pricey, if not impossible; so make sure to check the availability of your desired URL first.”
- Remember SEO. When picking a name, making sure your business is easy to find in search engines is important. “If you’re going to use a proper noun for your name, you should think about how that decision will impact SEO (search engine optimization),” says Winfrey in the article. “Choosing a common term like ‘Bell,’ for example, would make it hard to place your company on the first (or second) page of search results on Google.”
- Have a focus group. See how consumers respond to your name selections after you have gathered a shortlist of contenders. “”Survey as many people as you can,” says Bridie Loverro, co-founder of QuadJobs, an online marketplace connecting college and grad students to local employers, in the article. “The name to choose may not necessarily be the one people like best, but the one they remember most.”
- Retain your brand identity. Make sure to keep your options open. Switching from one business model to another and still keep your brand’s identity that you have already worked to build up is ideal. Try choosing a name what won’t pigeonhole your company to a specific service, such as an exterior-only wash, for example. “The goal is to create something that is broad enough to intuitively answer who you are and that speaks to your core customer base, but also gives you room to grow into other areas,” states Logan Sugarman, co-founder of wellness concierge service Refresh Body, in the article.
- Be mobile. With the push toward being mobile friendly, especially with the latest Google algorithm updates, if you plan to sell products/services online through a mobile app, keep in mind how your business’ name will appear on a mobile app icon. Make sure the name you choose can convey your brand on mobile devices.
- Don’t worry about being descriptive. Your business’ name doesn’t have to state exactly what you offer. “While it helps to reference the spirit of your brand in some way (think: food delivery company Seamless), avoid a name that sounds specific to an entirely different industry,” recommends Winfrey in the article.
- Be distinctive. Make your brand pop. Consider adding some custom elements that will make your name more than just a word(s), such as unconventional capitalization, adding unique design touches or combining two words with one.
Read the entire article on what to consider when choosing a business name here.